Bonjour, mes collègues. This isn’t Google Translate talking. This is my French minor talking. And it’s excited for this next week. Why? Because Friday, Feb. 6, marks the beginning of the 18th Annual Festival of Films in French at UW-Milwaukee’s Union Theatre.
This year’s festival line up has 17 very diverse films ranging from hip-hop documentaries to cartoons about mice and bears. Here’s a brief overview of the films I’m especially excited about this year.
Rengaine (Hold Back), 2012, Feb 6 at 9:15 pm & Feb 7 at 7:15 pm
This film showed at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, which says enough. It follows Dorcy and Sabrina who really want to get married. But, Sabrina is an Arab Muslim and Dorcy is a black Christian, which results in needed-approval from Sabrina’s 40 brothers. This “Romeo and Juliet” type film will be perfect to see as Valentine’s Day approaches.
Jean-Pierre Thorn’s two documentaries:
Faire kifer les anges (Pleasure to the People), 1997, Feb 9 at 2 pm
La Belle Rebelle (93 Beautiful Rebel), 2011, Feb 9 at 7 pm
The two films are similar in theme: gritty, urban, hip-hop culture in Paris. Believe it or not, French rap is incredibly popular. I actually prefer it to American rap. French hip-hop dancing culture is also explored in the first documentary. An exciting addition: Jean-Pierre Thorn will physically be at the films to discuss them. There will be a dance performance preceding “Faire kifer les anges” in the Union Concourse at 12:30 pm.
Ernest & Celestine, 2012, Feb 7 at 1 pm & Feb 15 at 1 pm
It’s a really adorable, hand-drawn movie about a mouse and a bear that become friends. This will warm even the coldest Wisconsin heart. Just go.
Visages d’enfants (Mother), 1925, Feb 10 at 7 pm
Mother is a silent film. Don’t lose me just yet. It’s an incredibly powerful, dramatic look at family and death. There will be musical accompaniment, so it’s not in complete silence, but I’m sure there will be sounds of sobbing throughout.
Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm), 2014, Feb 14 at 7 pm
When Tom’s lover dies, he travels to his funeral to find out his lover’s family didn’t know of Tom’s existence, or their son’s sexual orientation. It’s a thriller and a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day if you hate Valentine’s Day.
All films are free and entirely open to the public.
Obviously, the films are in French but there will be English subtitles, so don’t leave your glasses at home.